My classes this year are the most diverse they have ever been and I am very stressed about it. Basically, I am the bottom rung on the scheduling ladder. All the classes get slotted in and then whatever period is left, the kids get for their elective. With our small school there really isn’t a lot of choices for them, and since we are officially a “failing” school now, we have bumped up the support classes.
For the first time in many years, 4 of my 6 classes are 50/50 mixed 7th and 8th grade. The other 2 are just 6th graders, thankfully. I have often had a kid or two from different grades mixed in, but it has usually been for a SPED or ELL kid to be with some of their classmates and an Teaching assistant. This is different. In the 4 mixed grade classes, the learning range is vast. Honors 8th, honors 7th, GenEd 7 and 8 with then some of the lowest (almost life skills level) SPED kids in both 7 and 8. All this in a class of 32 bodies! At this point, this is my biggest class, the others are fairly small but with the same learning difference.
Let’s just say I am thankful that I am moving back towards the student choice end of the spectrum. At this point, I am still going to be modified choice with themed assignments. But I know some of my higher level 8th graders are going to move faster than the other kids. I already told them that I am going to let them do independent projects.
On top of that, we are short students school wide so we actually might loose a full staff member which will spur a huge, disruptive schedule change and an increase in class sizes.
So three days into the year, that is the stress part.
The excitement part is that I am doing a super cool cross-grade collaborative project, inspired by the Art of Apex. I have been following this blog since NAEA this year, but had pinned a picture from them before that. I didn’t even realize it was a project from Apex! I have 3 elementary school classrooms on board. I completed a grant last Spring, so I have a new 3-d printer. And I am excited! So stay posted for more details.